Flexible Pay Plans & Options Available to Help Customers Get Their Energy Accounts Back on Track
OAKLAND, Calif.—As summer heats up and home energy use increases in parts of California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges eligible customers to enroll in financial assistance programs to help lower energy costs and better manage summer energy bills.
PG&E also continues working with customers who have past-due balances—as result of the pandemic or other financial hardship—to help them set up payment arrangements or get help with unpaid balances and prevent a service disconnection.
“Customers in many of our hometowns use more electricity to cool their homes as the weather gets hotter in the summer months. For many customers, higher energy use can have a significant impact on household finances. PG&E wants to help, and we will work with individual customers on their specific needs,” said Vincent Davis, PG&E Vice President, Customer Operations and Enablement.
Programs That Can Help
Customers may qualify for support from financial assistance programs, including:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): A federally funded program that helps low-income households with their energy bills, including those at risk of having service interrupted for non-payment. LIHEAP is overseen by the California Department of Community Services and Development and administered by nonprofit agencies. Program eligibility is determined by income, household size, place of residence, and other factors. To find the local LIHEAP agency, visit csd.ca.gov/energybills or call 866-675-6623.
- California Alternative Rates for Energy Program (CARE): Qualified households can save 20% or more each month on their energy bill. Customers can apply for CARE online at pge.com/CARE. Applying is easy and only takes about five minutes. Qualifying customers will begin receiving the CARE program discount within their next billing cycle.
- Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA): Income-qualified households with three or more people can apply for the FERA program at pge.com/FERA for an 18% discount on their electric bill.
- Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help Program (REACH): Provides income-qualified customers with financial assistance up to $500, based on their past due bill, during times of hardship (energy credit support is subject to funding availability). Customers can apply for REACH support at dollarenergy.org/MyApp.
- Medical Baseline Program: Customers on the Medical Baseline program who have special energy needs due to certain qualifying medical conditions can receive a lower rate on monthly energy bills.
Post-Pandemic and Other Customer Support
In response to COVID-19, PG&E implemented a series of emergency protections for customers including a moratorium on energy service disconnections. While disconnections for non-payment have resumed, the company continues working with customers having difficulty paying their bills by providing assistance and payment plans to avoid disconnection.
PG&E distributed more than $540 million in relief to residential customers as part of two rounds of funding from the California Arrearage Payment Program. The company also launched the Arrearage Management Plan, which helps qualifying customers reduce unpaid balances through on-time payment and debt forgiveness. Customers can check eligibility by logging in to their PG&E account at pge.com or calling 800-743-5000.
PG&E has flexibility to extend bill due dates or arrange for a flexible payment plan. All customers are eligible to enroll in a 12-month pay plan, and participants who remain current on their plans are protected from collections and having their service interrupted for non-payment. Customers interested in extending their due date or arranging a pay plan are encouraged to visit pge.com or call 877-660-6789.
“We have the flexibility to create pay plans tailored to fit each customer’s unique situation and challenges. PG&E has done extensive outreach and distributed bill relief to residential customers throughout our service area, and we’re here to help customers get back on track,” said Davis.
Additional Resources to Help Manage Summer Energy Bills
In addition to financial and bill assistance resources, PG&E offers a variety of programs to help customers manage their summer energy costs:
- Personalized Rate Comparison supports customers by providing the best rate plan options for their household, which can help save money on energy bills.
- Budget Billing averages customers’ monthly energy costs to help monthly payment amounts remain more consistent, even if energy use changes significantly from season to season.
- Bill Forecast Alerts are notifications sent by email, text or phone notifying customers if their monthly bill is expected to exceed a specific amount set by the customer, based on how they are using energy.
- Home Energy Checkup is a free service thathelps customers assess their energy use and gives customized savings tips.
- HomeIntel is a free energy saving program that includes a Smart Audit and a personal energy coach. Customers who have lived in their home for more than a year and have a SmartMeter installed are eligible to participate.
- Power Saver Rewards is a free program that rewards participants for temporarily reducing energy use on select hot summer days when the demand for electricity is high.
- SmartAC is a voluntary program that offers participants $120 off a new smart thermostat or $75 to enroll in the program in addition to a $25 annual incentive.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.